Wonder is a book that I have been meaning to read for a while. Then they made it to a movie and it bumped up a little higher on my list. Finally I remembered to place it on hold at the library and read it.
This is middle school fiction about August, a ten year old boy (does New York really start middle school in fifth grade??) who has a differently structured face. He sees himself as a typical ten year old. The world sees a monster. The story is told through several different view points. There is August, a few of his classmate friends, his older sister, her boyfriend and best friend.
On one hand I really enjoyed the different perspectives. While August sees himself as ordinary those around him see him as extraordinary. They give a different perception to the situation. I also really enjoy how it was pulled off. One perception flowed into another continuing on the story and adding something else to it.
On the other hand I really did not enjoy having different perspectives. Why could not August tell his own story? Why was his view point not enough? Why couldn't he come to see how others saw him. In the end did he really grow at all or just those around him? Also, why was Jacob (his sister's boyfriend) written in all lowercase with no punctuation. I mean, I know why it was. Jacob most likely had Turrets Syndrome. This was one way to represent this. However, no other character had their writing change. August was ten and as his texts shows his spelling was that of a typical ten year old. Yet his narration did not portray that. Was the author trying to say that Jacob thought that way? It did not seem a positive or constructive way to portray this differences. There could have been so many more positive ways to show this. For a book about acceptance this seems like a poor way to highlight someone else who is different.
The book itself is well written. The narration style was intriguing and in another book I think it would be fascinating. However, I am really not thrilled with how it was used to portray Jacob and limit August's own growth. It all comes to nothing when August's response to receiving a reward at school is it is just another award given to the kid with special needs. It seemed to short change everything that had happened in the book.
Charlotte's Web is a children's chapter book written by E.B. White. This story is a classic and timeless. It teaches children about nature, death, and the joy of life. Perhaps its greatest message is that of friendship.
While I was re-reading this book I was mentioning parts to my children. They are all teenagers now, yet they easily knew what part of the book I was talking about. We then spent the entire car ride home talking about Charlotte's Web. Considering two of my children are not readers, this was a testament to the ability of Charlotte's Web to capture the reader.
I did not expect to like this book. It is not my typical type of read. I only picked it up because it is on Amazon's 100 Children's Books to Read in a Lifetime. However, there is a reason that I read off of lists. I find amazing books that I would not have otherwise picked up. Anne of Green Gables is such a book.
Anne is such an amazing character. She has spunk from the first time that you see her. She has enough mischief about her to keep you interested, but not enough that you disengage from her entirely. The most interesting relationship is between Anne and her guardians, specifically Marilla. Watching Marilla fall in love with Anne is an amazing experience.
Young or old, if you have not checked out this book yet then I recommend that you do. I bet you won't help but falling in love with Anne as well.
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